StartupBlink set out on a mission beginning in early 2014 to map and rank startup ecosystems across the globe. Our research drew to a close this past month, and we’ve produced our long-awaited, unprecedented Startup Ecosystem Rankings Report. This report ranks 954 cities and 125 countries around the world based on their startup ecosystem strength. Our rankings stem from thousands of data points gathered from various sources, such as incubators and accelerators that appear on the StartupBlink global ecosystem map. Rather than focusing on traditional, well-known winners, we’ve highlighted hundreds of ecosystems across the globe.
Our initiative is ongoing and will continue growing, developing and improving as we analyze further data. Our rankings are released periodically and we’re excited to build on past success. Check out our leaderboards to learn more about the world’s top startup ecosystems.
Of course, we cannot accomplish these rankings by ourselves. We are supported by dedicated community data partners who help our maps stay accurate and relevant. Moreover, our rankings will become increasingly detailed as organizations and individuals, who take pride in their local startup ecosystem, continue to send us new tips and information regarding their home cities.
Our data partners range from universities, government innovation officials, and startup organizations, to individuals simply interested in ensuring their city is accurately represented. Oftentimes, this means an improved ranking as well. The more data we have, the better! If you’re interested in providing data for your city, please contact us. You can also contact us with suggestions and corrections for the report.
Click here to download the full report and get our expert insights on every country!
Our analysis is geared towards three primary audiences: entrepreneurs, municipal development offices, and national governments. Importantly, entrepreneurs can utilize our rankings to determine if a particular city has the resources needed to support their goals. For example, a founder looking to establish a startup in the southeast stretches of the United States would review cities such as Tampa, Atlanta, and Durham, to determine their ranking and what incubators, accelerators, or fellow startups are located there. We also hope that our data helps founders and other startup leaders improve their home city rather than simply heading to typical hubs such as New York, London, and San Francisco.
Municipal and state governments have the unique ability to utilize our data as they curate economic development programs and startup initiatives. In an almost unanimous fashion, cities across the globe are working hard to attract startup talent. Doing so requires building and fostering the resources young, talented teams need to grow. Our data points allow civic leaders the opportunity to review the resources their ecosystems offer, compare themselves to other regional ecosystems, and focus on essential areas of improvement. In turn, national development offices can review cities in need of business development or startup-related assistance, and address these needs accordingly.
Developing the Rankings
We determined it was critically important not to simply record the number of startups in a given city. While helpful to know, our experience in the startup world has taught us that key players in any startup ecosystem also include coworking spaces, accelerators, tech reporters, and government-run startup support organizations. Our algorithm was developed to account for the quantity and quality of these relevant startup ecosystem actors.
Our initial rankings are based strictly on quantifiable data. While we believe there will be room for qualitative analysis in the future and welcome interview volunteers, we initially refrained from using tools such as surveys and interviews. Instead, we processed data accumulated on our map or published by external sources. Each location’s final score is based on the same mathematical calculation with no customizations or additions per location.
After reviewing our ranking tables you will notice three specific columns for each location: quantity score, quality score, and business score. These three scores are reflected by a summative assessment, the “total score”. You can read more about our methodology in the full report.
We’d like to thank Dr. Will Bennis (Ph.D., University of Chicago), and Dr. Shlomo David (Ph.D., University of Haifa) for their valuable advice and feedback on building an algorithm that best reflects and aggregates the data gathered.
The Big Winners
The United States, United Kingdom, and Canada swept the top three spots in our global country rankings. With Israel and Germany hot close behind, we expect to see some jockeying for top spots in the coming years!
Israel is the first non-English speaking country on the list, coming in at number 4. Known as the “startup nation”, Israel’s startup ecosystem has produced high-quality startups such as Waze, Viber, Payoneer, and Wix.
Germany closes out the top five, with its capital, Berlin, also ranking 5th in our global cities analysis. Currently enjoying a startup renaissance, Germany has three additional cities in the top 100. Impressively, they include Munich, 64th, Hamburg at 74th, and Frankfurt at 84th.
Additionally, when reviewing startup activity per capita (taking into consideration population size) we found that small nations of less than 10 million inhabitants like, Sweden (6th), Denmark (7th), Switzerland (8th), and Singapore (10th) placed in the top 10 (as well as the previously mentioned Israel).
Scandinavian countries also display interesting regional competition. While Swedish entrepreneurs have built high-quality startups like Spotify, Candy Crush, and Minecraft, Denmark has supported new startup initiatives, Startup Bootcamp and Startup Weekend, for example.
It may be surprising to see Switzerland at number eight in the rankings. However, the country’s stability and banking system seem to provide support and funding to help create high-quality startups. Switzerland has also produced a few unicorns (a startup company valued over 1 billion USD), giving an additional boost to its quality rankings.
France, unlike Switzerland, lacks in unicorns but makes up for it in the country’s overall quantity of startups. Singapore, another small, but powerful country, rounds off our top 10 list. It’s also the first Asian country to feature in the top 10.
Rather than focusing on one specific ecosystem, our global rankings offer valuable insight into how countries fare in “distributing” their startup talent. This is helpful not only in determining how to increase the potential of a country’s overall startup ecosystem but also in showing how to allocate needed wealth, economic and business resources. The United States(with 19 cities in top 50 cities list) and Canada (3 cities in top 50), are doing very well in this area, while other top-ranked countries like the United Kingdom (ranked 2nd globally) only manage to have one city in the top 50, showing the dominance and importance of London in the UK startup ecosystem.
Just a few quick regional findings:
Mexico ranks 30th, leading Latin American countries. Chile follows close behind, ranking 33rd, with Brazil coming in at 39th, and Argentina, 40th.
Europe fares well, boasting 20 European countries (including Russia) in the overall top 30.
Asia is also building its momentum, led by Singapore (10th), and closely followed by China(12th). South Korea (17th) and Japan (20th).
Africa has 4 representatives in the top 60. South Africa is the first (38th), followed by Kenya, Egypt, and Nigeria (ranked 53rd, 54th, and 57th respectively).
The report and map have recently been covered by the Hong Kong Economic Times, Forbes, and Business Insider. Check out our full press page for more articles on our approach. Moreover, our analysis is garnering attention from government officials. Here is an example from Canada’s Minister of Science and Economic development.
We’re constantly looking to improve our rankings and add value to future reports. We’d love to hear your thoughts on our findings and how you feel we could improve them. Please feel free to leave your comments below. Thanks!
Review our research and download the full report here.